Former Ipswich Hockey Club player Hannah Martin makes Olympic debut as Great Britain suffer opening defeat to Germany
It was a bittersweet Olympic Games debut for Ipswich-raised hockey player Hannah Martin in Tokyo as Great Britain women's team saw their title defence get off to a stuttering start in a 2-1 defeat to Germany today.
The 26-year-old, who has just ended a five-year spell with Surrey side Surbiton ahead of joining Netherlands Amsterdam-based team Hurley, had headed to Asia on the back of an injury.
But the player who learned the game with Ipswich Hockey Club while attending Ipswich School proved her fitness in time for the opening group match with Germany.
After being named on the substitutes bench Matin, who made her GB senior debut in 2017, came on early in the second half with Mark Hager’s side having been pegged back to 1-1.
Sarah Jones had given the Olympic reigning champions a deserved lead towards the end of the first quarter, turning home a deflected corner.
But after Maddie Hinch produced a smart save in the 22nd minute she could not keep out Viktoria Huse's penalty stroke within two minutes to level things up at the half-time interval.
Martin was soon in the thick of the action in the third quarter, forcing a good save from Julia Sonntag, who was in inspired form throughout.
It proved a crucial save as the Germans quickly broke up the other end with forward Charlotte Stapenhorst converting what proved to be the winning goal in the 33rd minute.
Both teams had one more chance apiece in the third quarter, Hinch reacting smartly to her right to stop the German effort before Giselle Ansley’s flick – which looked destined for the top corner – was brilliantly blocked on the line.
Three more corners in quick succession early in the final quarter could not breach the German defence either, with the first two striking feet before Ansley’s flick was saved by Sonntag.
After the match, captain Hollie Pearne-Webb said: “I think we’re going to go back tonight, look at the stats and I think that’ll show that it was a really dominant performance from us.
"In one way that’s disappointing because on the balance of play the three points should have been ours, however, it’s also disappointing as we didn’t make sure it was three points and I think the difference was just in both circles.
"I think we’ll look at the stats and see that they didn’t have many opportunities, I think they had one corner, one stroke, and not many shots. We had numerous corners, but that’s the difference in hockey at both ends. We need to go back and tighten up those areas. Overall, I think it was really positive.
“There was a danger that with a very new group we could come out here and be a bit nervous, but I don’t think we started like that.
"I think we started confidently and had them on the back foot with the momentum in our favour, so it was a really pleasing start. Now we’re in the tournament, game one is out of the way, and we’ve got South Africa coming up tomorrow, so we need to take the confidence we showed today and take it into that match."
GB’s women return to action against South Africa at 10:30am BST tomorrow.